To determine whether spirometry and regular medical review improved quality of life or other outcomes in children and adolescents with asthma.
We conducted two cluster randomized controlled trials. We recruited 238 asthma patients aged between 7 and 17 years from 56 general practices in South Eastern Australia.
Participants were randomized to receive an intervention that included spirometry or usual care. The main outcome measure was asthma related quality of life.
Baseline characteristics were well matched between the intervention and control groups. Neither trial found any difference in asthma related quality of life between groups. However because of measurement properties, a formal meta-analysis could not be performed. Nor were there any significant effects of the intervention upon asthma attacks, limitation to usual activities, nocturnal cough, bother during physical activity, worry about asthma, or written asthma action plans.
The findings do not support more widespread use of spirometry for the management of childhood asthma in general practice, unless it is integrated into a complete management model. Pediatr Pulmonol.